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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

6           HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

maritime cities, and above all of Athens of which we think.
For in them the genius of the Greek people came to its fullest
perfection.

3. EARLY EDUCATION

Concerning education among the peoples with whom the
Greeks were connected by physical and spiritual descent we
know very little. It is possible that when we find out more
about the wonderful civilization of Crete which has been revealed
by excavation we may learn something about the educational
institutions of the Minoan age. Meantime our only direct
sources of information are the two Homeric epics, and these
have to be used with great caution because of our uncertainty as
to their origin and history. If the view that they represent one
of the latest phases of the Minoan civilization transplanted to
the mainland of Greece and modified in the process bo accepted,
and due allowance made for the possibility of changes and ad-
ditions when they were being adapted for public recitation at
the pan-Hellenic gatherings, we may look to them for some light
on the state of education among the most cultured section of the
Greek ancestry.

What strikes one most in perusing the Iliad and the Qdymy
with this object is the scantiness of the references to education
or to educational accomplishments like writing, a fact which
suggests the absence of any system of formal education either
in home or school The only two specific references, as it
happens, are to the training of Achilles, The first of these
occurs in the Ninth Book of the Itiad, where Phoenix in address-
ing Achilles reminds him that he had been his tutor when he
was sent away from home in his boyhood, " unskilled as yet in
remorseless war or in the councils where also men gain renown.91
" On this account/1 he says, " your father sent me with you to
teach you to be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds,1"
The passage implies the conjunction of a rhetorical and a military
training in the education of the young mea of the ruling classes,
which is an interesting anticipation of an important phase of
Athenian education some centuries later* Perhaps for this
reason doubt has been cast on the idea that rhetoric played any
'part b t&e training df youths in the Homeric age on the mistaken